Ryder Cup 2016 should be goal for rising star Thorbjorn Olesen

Sam Torrance
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Olesen won the biggest tournament of his career on Sunday (Source: Getty)

It was two years ago at the Seve Trophy in Paris that I recall being impressed by a young Danish player who helped Continental Europe narrowly beat the Great Britain and Ireland team that I was captaining.

Thorbjorn Olesen, then 23, was athletic and had a good swing, as well as something in the way he walked about the course – his demeanour – that suggested he was a positive, strong character.

Olesen has had ups and downs since then, but on Sunday won the biggest tournament of his career, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.

It was his third European Tour title – an excellent achievement for someone still so young – and, having slipped down the rankings following a wrist injury this year, secured his tour card for two seasons.

Having seen him play at the Seve Trophy, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Olesen make the European Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles last year.

It came too soon but last week’s win has lifted him top of the early points table for next year’s contest and he must believe he has a good chance of making his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine.

Staying at the Dunhill for a moment, it was great to see Walker Cup stars Paul Dunne and Jimmy Mullen, who finished six and eight shots behind Olesen, do so well on their professional debuts.

In other team competition news, I’m looking forward to watching this week’s Presidents Cup between the United States and an International team made up of non-European players.

It’s the first under a new format which previously meant that all 12 players on each side had to play in every session. That favoured the stronger American team, but the change should make for a much closer affair and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an International squad boasting the likes of Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen, Thongchai Jaidee, Danny Lee and Anirban Lahiri cause an upset in South Korea.

The British Masters also returns from a seven-year absence this week, and it’s good to see England’s Ian Poulter put something back into his home club by hosting the tournament at Woburn.

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